The webmaster of a website devoted to the Witcher family, which has intermarried with the Fips or Phips family, sent a copy of a tax list from Surry County, North Carolina dated 1814. The document is headed “Capt. Witchers District. List of Taxable Property for the year 1814.”
Columns are headed as follows:
- Persons Names
- W Pole [for while polls]
- B Pole [for black polls]
Names have been alphabetized in the original record, so close neighbors are not indicated. The list includes the following. Presumably the first column indicates acreage.
- Potter Stephen Senr. | 467 | 2 | [blank] | [blank]
- Phipps James | 100 | 1 | [blank] | [blank]
- Phipps Lewis | [blank] | 1 | [blank] | [blank]
Since various Phips family members and other relatives migrated from Surry and Ashe Counties, North Carolina into Lawrence County, Indiana early in the 19th century, it would seem likely that Lewis is the one of this name who later ended up in the latter county.
Stephen Potter seems likely to have been related to the Gideon Potter family. Gideon Potter was born in 1798 in Surry County, North Carolina.
That family moved from Pittsylvania County, Virginia (where the John and Tabitha Fips family was living) into Surry County, North Carolina and from there into Lawrence County, Indiana.
Gideon Potter’s mother was Martha (Phipps) Potter. Gideon wrote that his grandfather back in Pittsylvania County, Virginia had been whipped and imprisoned prior to the Revolutionary War because of his religious views.
Could this grandfather have been his Phips or Phipps grandfather? Vague and ethereal rumors seem to hint at a possibility of some sort of family rift over views regarding the Revolutionary War.
Today, after centuries of training in public schools, the Revolution is regarded as a divine mandate. Back in the 1760s and early 1770s, however, many in America believed that rebellion against the government was a sin, based on scriptures like I Samuel 15:23, Romans 13:1, Colossians 3:22, Titus 3:1, Hebrews 13:17, I Timothy 2:2, I Peter 2:13, and I Peter 2:17.
Could this have been the type of religious views to which Elder Gideon Potter alluded? A few years before the Revolution, Americans believed that one should “Fear God, honour the king” (I Peter 2:17), and that one should “be subject to principalities and powers” (Titus 3:1).
By the time Revolutionary sentiments took over, however, such scriptures were either swept aside or redefined. We know of some Phipps or Phips family members who stayed in Canada or England because of this shift in beliefs. Was Gideon Potter’s grandfather one of them, and was he referring to his Phipps line?